WTA is currently exploring options to transition its fleet to fully zero-emission vehicles. Zero-emission buses (ZEBs) will help WTA hit climate goals set both locally, at the state level, and by the Federal Transit Administration. WTA is moving toward a 100% zero-emission fleet with a target of 2040.
There are many challenges with the transition. ZEBs do not currently have the range to operate on all WTA routes and the costs for buses and infrastructure are beyond our current funding capacity. In addition, WTA still has many diesel and hybrid buses, which will take time to replace. Under federal rules, WTA cannot replaces buses until they reach the end of their useful life, which is at least 12 years.
Despite these challenges, WTA will be bringing 13 additional battery-electric buses into operation between 2023 and 2025. Between 2025 and 2027, WTA is planning to procure hybrid electric buses for any bus replacement needs. These three years will give WTA time to seek funding, and to plan for and make facility improvements necessary to operate additional ZEBs. Based on current facilities planning, all bus purchases after 2027 will be 100 percent zero-emissions.
For an excellent summary of issues facing transit agencies transitioning to electric buses, read Transit Center's electric bus article.